President Bola Tinubu’s Special Adviser on Information and Strategy, Bayo Onanuga, has denied the allegation that the president is planning to relocate the federal capital territory from Abuja to Lagos.
Onanuga, who was reacting to the backlash against the President’s decision to relocate some departments of CBN and the cooperate headquarters of the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), described the news as dishonest.
Taking to his official X (formerly Twitter) account, Onanuga said the decision to relocate some selected CBN offices and FAAN headquarters is strategic since those regulatory institutions are closer to the businesses they regulate in Lagos.
He said, however, that the move should not be misconstrued as an attempt from the President to relocate the FCT from Abuja to Lagos, adding that “Abuja has come to stay.”
“President Tinubu has no plan whatsoever to move the Federal Capital to Lagos. The rumor first surfaced during the campaign last year by opponents looking for all manners of weapons to stop him. We trashed it.
“Those peddling it anew are dishonest, ethnic and regional champions, trying to draw attention to themselves. Abuja has come to stay. It is backed by law.
“The movement of FAAN, a department of the Aviation Ministry to Lagos, where it was based before former minister Hadi Sirika moved it to Abuja during the last administration, does not amount to moving the FCT to Lagos. The administrative move should have attracted scant attention, as Lagos is the commercial capital and the hub of aviation business in Nigeria. FAAN should be nowhere else but near the industry it regulates. FAAN will still maintain some presence in Abuja, as it is not a wholesale movement.
“Similarly, the movement of some departments of the CBN to Lagos should not trigger any hoopla. The departments concerned, including the bank supervision department, are those dealing with commercial banks, all with headquarters in Lagos. A regulator ought to be close to the businesses it regulates,” he said.
Furthermore, he said that those pushing the narrative of moving FCT to Lagos are playing dirty politics, emphasizing that it is an attempt to pitch the north against the southern part of the country.
“All those pushing this campaign of falsehood know they are playing politics, albeit a dangerous politics to pit the North against the South.
“Administrative decisions should not be politicized. Let it not look like whenever we are temporarily not at the helm of affairs, we create all manners of dangerous rumors to distract from the bigger picture and emasculate an administration led by a Southerner.
“Let’s stop the dirty politics. We can’t be playing politics with everything,” he added.
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) recently issued an internal memo, revealing its decision to relocate selected offices to Lagos due to congestion in specific departments.
In addition, the government also unveiled its intentions to transfer the headquarters of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) to improve operational efficiency and cut costs.
In a statement issued by the Director, of Public Affairs and Consumer Protection, Obiageli Orah, the Authority noted that the Abuja location had no office space to contain the activities of the agency.
Meanwhile, there has been backlash from the public, particularly from the northern elite who believed that the decision would jettison Abuja’s status as the federal capital of the country.